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It’s January, and I was expecting this issue to be full of winter poems and stories—and there are some, such as “One Winter Day,” the evocative nonfiction piece that opens the magazine, and a chilling story called “Thin Ice.” But what surprised me was the humor I discovered this season! There’s a hilarious and a little bit snarky story about the Greek gods, a sly art theft mystery, a poem about sneakers, and the rousing tale of a little chicken with a big dream.

Amidst the humor, though, is great sadness. In this issue, we give you the true story of the day Aisana Zhumabayeva found out about the passing of her father. We have a story about someone who suffers because he’s so different from his peers. I love those pieces, but I am also grateful for the humor that balances them out. Nothing warms up the short, cold days (and difficult times in our lives) like a little laughter.

This winter, I encourage you to brighten your world by writing a funny story and maybe even sharing it with someone who needs a lift.